Monday, August 31, 2009

Holy Crap!

I realized how much more buff my calves were after I bent over to scratch one of them and found that the distance was noticeably shorter than usual.

Marching band - THE way to get great legs!

My new headphones came in. When I put them on and listened to a song I just listened to with my previous headphones, a huge smile started spreading on my face and ended in a huge-ass grin; the sound is easily superior to my (still working, but starting to fall apart) previous pair. But one of the main reasons why I chose those specific headphones (of only two of which were left online at the time!) was because their overall design is similar to that of Arisato's from Persona 3. The cord even loops around behind my neck (though on the opposite side than Arisato's), allowing me to hang the headphones around my neck like he does.

Yes, I'm a geek. But if I was really a geek, I would've imported the actual, exact model his headphones were based off of (Audio Technica EM-700) for $125.

I made the rest of the Poke'mon profiles for those who are at Lv.50 and/or fully evolved. So there's Ninetails (named after one of the bosses in Okami, a golden nine-tailed fox demon), Sentinel (named for a trait of this Poke'mon species, who serves as a sort of guardian for its Trainer), Samus Aran (named after the main heroine of Metroid), Leventhan (named after the dragon in Odin Sphere), Colossus (named for the massive power this Poke'mon species is said to wield, and after the Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus), Aeon (named after the creatures Yuna can summon in Final Fantasy X), Kagegami (name is Japanese for "Shadow God"), Takoyaki (name is Japanese for "Fried Octopus"; literal translation would be "Octopus Fried"), and Enigma (named as such because of the mystery surrounding this Poke'mon species in the series).

I have a whole bunch more, but they're not ready to be made into Persona 3-esque profiles yet. It took me soooo long to do these, and then error-check them, which took even MORE time. By the end of the whole thing, every last image, which is based off of the first one I made, Ninetails, had around 75 layers. That makes these the most elaborate images I've ever made in my entire freaking life.

Tomorrow, I have only Pre-calc and University Band. So I'll probably play some more Okami, maybe do some more image-making and coding for this blog's layout...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Rather Uneventful Weekend

Saturday - did nothing, except playing Okami. I'm in Sasa Sanctuary right now (Mom knows what that means!).

Sunday - did nothing until I had to go to a sectional. Well, except for work on this image, which I finally finished late tonight (it's also cut off because of this damn blog's layout, which I SWEAR I'll start working on soon):



A Poke'mon profile, somewhat modeled after the Persona profiles in Persona 3.



Somewhat close, no? >.>;;(and yes, that is Messiah) Those goddamn boxes and stuff...GAAAAH. That took me soooo long! ;_;

I want to make more of them for my other Poke'mon sometime. It shouldn't take me nearly as long as the original (SEVEN HOURS TOTAL!!!!), which I can now just edit to make the new ones, instead of starting from scratch.


Friday, August 28, 2009

I Like College.

I'm actually looking forward to my classes and ENJOYING them.

Computer Science today, for instance. In class, with my laptop, as the teacher is talking, I downloaded the Python program, which included the system shell, which I can use to practice. Which I did once I learned one of the very basic commands for the program. As someone who learned HTML and, especially, CSS by fiddling around with coding to see what I can do, the fact that I can bring my laptop to class and learn this way makes it much easier and comprehensive for me.

Python is a programming thing-a-ma-jig similar to Java, which the school was teaching last year. Apparently, Python is used to run Google.

I'm finding myself really looking forward to Computer Science. I can't wait to see what I can do with it!

Also of note was the Inquiry in the Humanities class today, in which we basically discussed whether everything was real and if humans really know anything. It was one of those discussions that made my brain feel like it was going to give me a runtime error. Y'know, one of those ones where the program says "I can't do this", and possibly crashes it.

I found that my asthma is here to stay, unfortunately. I got out half an hour late from band; I wanted to see Up with Jane in the Memorial Union hall at 9, but got out at 8:30, completely covered in sweat and needing a shower. As a result, I sprinted all the way back to the dorm (five minutes away), and as of typing this, I still haven't fully recovered. I'm still coughing and I feel a bit wheezy, too. Plus, my body is crashing because of the adrenaline and it's making me realllly tired.

Jane liked Up, BTW. I'll see if we can catch the viewing of Star Trek tomorrow.

Also, not to brag, but...

Silver is Falling Behind. Again.

Yep, another post about the day before. Written as if I wrote it yesterday, because it's easier.

Today, I only had Pre-calc, since University Band wasn't meeting today due to auditions. This resulted in me spending a lot of time doing nothing.

I played Okami for a few hours, got to Agata Forest.

And then Jane's uncle called, saying that he was going to pick us up. After I played for a little while longer, he texted Jane saying that he was downstairs.

Thankfully, Jane's uncle's visit meant that I could go to the local Wal-Mart, at least an hour away walking. I was able to get new shoes, a carton of soymilk, a box of cereal, and a new can of spray-on sunblock. Oh, and a Poke'mon booster pack, of course.

And then in a complete act of generosity and awesomeness, Jane's uncle took us to Sam's Club and proceeded to tell me that I could get whatever I want and not to worry about anything (of course, this is after I payed $39 for my stuff earlier, but that's beside the point, haha). I got two more boxes of cereal, eight new heads for my electric toothbrush, two huge bottles of Listerine, and three cartons of soymilk, all while thanking him like crazy (everything is sold in bulk over there). I have enough stuff to last me until at least December, methinks, which is when I flying back to Vegas anyway (I even have doctor and dentist appointments scheduled during that month!).

And then after THAT, he took us out to eat. Yet again, much thanking ensued.

We got back at 9, had to make room in Jane's fridge for my four new cartons of soymilk (bringing to the total up to FIVE), and then I got to open my new booster pack. Platinum Supreme Victors series, the newest one out, got a holographic Claydol card.

And that was all. Here's your required Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series episode:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Second First Day of School

(man I suck, this was supposed to be posted yesterday!)

So I had the rest of my classes today.

Because of the insane distance from my dorm to the Aerospace complex, I have to take a shuttle. Luckily, the shuttle always seems to come on time. It's also free.

Computer Science already looks like it's going to be a fun class. I even got to bring my laptop! There were more girls in the class than I thought there'd be. My textbook for this class is "The Fundamentals of Python". No, I don't have a clue what Python is, I've actually never heard of it, not even in passing. All I know is that when I first saw the name of the book on my book list, I instantly thought it was about how to be funny like Monty Python.

Shortly afterwards, I went to the building next door, Clifford, for Introduction to Space Studies. A few words about the Clifford building. The place is freakishly futuristic-looking. If I didn't have ten minutes between Computer Science and Space Studies, I would take a picture of the interior. Also, the instant you walk in, you have to take an escalator to the second floor to continue on. Basically, one of the first things I thought was "Daaaaaaaaaymn."

About Space Studies itself. Intro to Space Studies is the only class of mine that takes place in an actual lecture hall. But even this is weird. First off, it looks like the lecture hall could only seat 200 people at most. Second off, it wasn't nearly that full. So even this class is kinda small, much like the other ones. I have yet to be in a class, band aside, that has had more than 30 or so people in it at most.

Apparently, the teacher likes to start off some of the lectures with a Looney Tunes cartoon involving space. Marvin the Martian FTW. I will never admit this to anyone in real life, but I actually find the old-school Looney Tunes pretty funny when I come across them. I think part of the reason why is because of how shitty in general kids cartoons today are.

Judging by the intro lecture about all of the things covered in Space Studies, I think I'm definitely going to like this class, especially since there seems to be a lot of focus on the human space programs in place today. Besides, the textbook is the National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space! With a foreword by Buzz Aldrin, and huge full-color photographs! This and the Fundamentals of Python book are the two books I think I'm going to keep rather than turn in at the end of the semester.

Afterwards, I got to ride the shuttle back to Memorial Union, where some sort of mass event was going on in the front. Since I didn't have pre-calc today, I dropped off my stuff at the dorm and went to the Dining Terrace on the lower floor via a side entrance. Whole wheat spaghetti with marinara sauce and diced chicken (ehhhh, normal spaghetti is better taste- and texture-wise), a bowl of salad and a bowl of pasta salad, and a cup of water and a cup of iced tea.

After lunch, I got to sit around for about an hour or so before I had to head out to go to Inquiry in the Humanities Honors, which already looks like it's going to be a version of a college English class. Glad I don't have any, otherwise it'd feel like I have TWO of them.

The class only has about fifteen people in it, and has squishy chairs and couches along the wall instead of desks, something I'm not used to. The teacher is pretty funny. In order to break up the awkward silence that pervaded the room at one point, he asked the class why he liked the "I *heart* Jesus" mug he was drinking tea from. His answer? "Because it turns my water into wine." The guy also seems to like old-school rock.

We have five goddamn books for this class! FIVE! Luckily, the essays in this class don't look like they're going to be about analyzing rhetorical strategies, a topic that gets really, really old after your fifth essay about it. Judging by the syllabus, they only seem to be about two to four pages long, too.

After that class, I got to go home and sit around for an hour AGAIN before having to leave with my clarinet in tow for my University Band placement audition. It was supposed to be at 3:50, but since the director was so far behind, I opted to simply walk in the room, order be damned, because Marching Band class was starting (luckily, there was an "Informational Meeting" about the class at the beginning of the class, so I didn't have to worry about not getting a ride). I think I did pretty well. Maybe.

Marching Band was same-old, same-old, except that I had to put sunblock on because it was bright and sunny out there. It was thankfully windy, and the prior meeting made sure that we'd only have an hour to do things. Oh yeah, at that meeting, I found out that we're learning MULTIPLE shows over the course of the semester. I hope it's not what I think it is, I hope they just mean "pregame" (where we apparently high-step-run onto the field) and "half-time" (which we've been working on for the last week-and-a-half).

After that, I had to shower really quickly back at the dorm and had to walk with Sam back to the Aerospace complex because I got back from band too late to catch the Night Bus after showering (the sun was still up, though). The reason? Anime club. No one had their Poke'mon games with them, much to my disappointment, but now I know that I should probably bring my laptop in next time. Yay for free wireless, uncensored internet! Also, they knew about about Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. They meet every Wednesday at 7.

And that was it for today. I was so tired when I got back that I couldn't blog about it. Oh yeah, and I found out last night that Littlekuriboh (aka "CardgamesFTW") posted a new episode of the Abridged Series.

For your required random video of today, here's the full version of the intro to the anime "Air". I actually have this song on my iPod.



And of course, here's episode 3 of the Abridged Series...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two Differences Between Grand Forks and Las Vegas.

1.) On campus at least, people will literally stop for you to cross the street. If they see you on the side of the road, looking anxiously up and down it, they will literally slow down and come to a stop to let you cross. I'm still not used to it. It's the equivalent of going down, say, Torrey Pines and having all four lanes of traffic stop for you so you can cross the street (there's no such thing as two-lane "main streets" in Vegas).

2.) The difference in regards to college spirit between these two places is summed up simply by:

Local Radio Station: "Thank you for making us UND's most listened to station!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The REAL First Day of School

Finally, a day where I have something other than band!

Today, I had Pre-calculus at 12:00 to 12:50. Judging by the material in the textbook that I looked through, it appears as if the vast majority of it will be review from my last quarter of Algebra II/Trigonometry Honors from last year. Which is good, because I haven't done any of that stuff since May, and I can't tell you what the value of the sine of 90 degrees is in Radians. Or how to formulate an equation from a cosine graph. So it's good that it's review.

After that, I had lunch. A hamburger, a few chicken nuggets, a little bit of macaroni and cheese, a bowl of salad, and a bowl of pasta salad, plus two small glasses of iced tea.

An hour or so after that, I left the dorm to go to University Band. The class was basically talking about what the band was, etc.. My audition is tomorrow.

After I got home, I started playing Okami. At 7, I got to pick up my care package from Mom.

And then I went back to playing Okami. I just finished restoring Hana Valley.

Oh, here's an extra video for you.



It can be considered "cruel and unusual punishment".

And here's Episode 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series...

First Day of School

(was supposed to be posted yesterday. LOL.)

...ok, it wasn't really the first day of the school, since classes don't start until four in the afternoon. And since I got an e-mail from my Computer Science teacher saying that we won't be having the lab class today (plus "see you on Wednesday!"), I basically only had Marching Band. What else was new?

At least Marching Band was only an hour and a half. As someone who has had 3-hour rehearsals twice a week late after school for band for the past four years, three hour-and-a-half rehearsals a week are nothing. Plus the fact that it's NOT 100 degrees outside. Rehearsal this time around was pretty slow because there was new people who needed to be set in the formations (THIS IS WHY YOU COME TO BAND CAMP!).

There was also a meeting at the Hall today for all of the residents. There's literally only about twenty people in this dorm. We had to say our names, say where we came from, and tell two truths and a lie about ourselves, of which the other girls would try to guess what was true and what wasn't. My lie? That my second language was Spanish (it's not, it's Japanese, if you don't count what little German I know).

Afterwards, I played and FINALLY beat Persona 3 on my God Mode file (start at Lv.90, Thanatos/Messiah run). The final boss was a piece of cake. It totally helps, of course, that I have the best Persona in the game, Messiah, which happens to have 99 in each stat, and that myself and all of my party members (ALL of them, even the ones who weren't in my team during the final boss fight) were Lv.99, which has the added bonus of making all of your Hit Points and Spirit Points 999. Add to that the fact that my Messiah happens to know "Enduring Soul" (when killed, I get revived with full HP automatically, happens only once during battle), and I was pretty much invincible. Oh, and the ending totally made me cry. Again. For the third time. It never fails. CURSE YOU AND YOUR STORYTELLING SKILLS, ATLUS.

And now, I'm going to start posting the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series episodes. Because I can.

Episode 1 - Pilot. You have your choice of the original...



...or the re-dub, which was done recently.



...or you could just watch both. Though the re-dub is better, I admit that the original has some sort of charm to it, plus it makes more sense when I post Episode 2 for tomorrow's post.

Also, I'm working on the graphics for the new layout of this blog, just in case you were wondering.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Nothing.

And I was supposed to post this yesterday, but forgot.


I had nothing today, so I basically sat in my room with Jane and vegged out on the computer. Breakfast: Cereal. Lunch and dinner: Hot pockets. And then I played Persona 3 for several hours (still need to finish it!).

Yeah. Boring day to write about.

Speaking of Persona 3...



...so yeah.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Performance and Insanity

I was supposed to post this the day before yesterday, but I was too tired.


Today we performed the performance that we were rehearsing yesterday.

Before the whole thing, I walked to the band room in my Pride shirt (a black polo shirt that was Large size because there weren't any smaller sizes; fine by me), my black jeans, and my normal shoes with my black boots in my bag (my only other pair of shoes). Unfortunately, it's impossible to march in those black boots - I can step in time, but not march in time. This posed a problem, as yesterday, we marched over there in parade formation, which meant that we'd probably do it today.

The assistant director got me a pair of marching band shoes that fit PERFECTLY, which solved my problem of having to order shoes. Aaaand then I found out that were were "moseying" over there instead of "marching" over there. Sheesh!

Everything else before our performance was the same...except more hilarious. I guess they play the same message every year, because while it was going on and on about how the University was the place to "engage your mind", one of the senior trumpet players started making slow, exaggerated hand gestures in time with the words like he was doing interpretive dancing. To make it even more amusing, one of the other trumpet players opened his phone and held it underneath the other guy's face, illuminating it in the gloom behind the curtains. I had to stifle my laughter, because we were ON STAGE, just behind the curtains without any lights. And then the techno music for the video came on, and all of the guys in the back started dancing like crazy.

After our performance (in which the stupid trumpets screwed up the end for The Pretender), we got to go to the green room and sit there for a while. I played on my DS while a bunch of the band members got in circles and played games that I wasn't too interested in. After a while, we had to come back up to play at the end of the first show. It also seemed that they were using the same music that they did for at least the day before, because members of the male choir and one of our drum majors started "air-timpani-ing" to the dramatic timpanis in the music (of course, we were still behind the curtains on the stage).

We had an hour between the end of this performance and the beginning of the next one, so I basically sat in the green room, playing my game. Everything went as planned, and this time I went to sit in the audience so I can see the fire-dancer two performances before our last one.

Yeah, fire-dancer. This student with an Aviation major twirls flaming shit around on stage. It was freaking insane.

After our last performance, I had about an hour before the start of the annual Pride BBQ. So I went home and changed, then came back.

At the BBQ, a few things happened. One, there was this cute, adorable little toad the size of my thumb that everyone kept taking pictures of. Later, one of the section leaders took said frog back to the nearby stream that bisects the campus. Two, I surprised myself with how little I ate - only a hamburger, a hot dog, and some chips, a far cry from what I was expecting: two each. I think it's because my ribs (or, rather, the muscles between the ribs) hurt from all of the playing, and it's putting me off my appetite because it's convincing me that I'm having stomach cramps.

After the BBQ, we had the annual Pride games, in which the sections would compete against each other. I came back from the bathroom (too many bottles of water consumed) in the middle of the first one, in which it appeared that the objective was to get from one side of the area to another while holding an egg in a spoon. The second one was something involving the untangling of arms. And then the last two were absolutely insane. The first of the insane ones was the "pie" eating contest, in which said "pies" really consisted of pudding topped with whipped cream. And it couldn't be eaten with your hands. Let's just say that it was messy. The last one was the water-balloon toss, which of course resulted in everyone taking the extra water balloons and throwing them at each other when the game was over. That was my cue to leave, pretty much (since I of course had my DS and other electronics with me), coupled with the fact that Jane called me asking if I wanted to meet her at the Wellness Center. Also, the drumline won. At least it wasn't the stupid trumpets.

So I went straight from the BBQ to the Wellness Center. It was a bit of a long haul since I only really knew where it generally was - it was near The Ralph, a short name for our huge-ass hockey arena, which was only about a block away from my dorm, which was a bit far away from where I was at the moment, the Hughes Fine Arts Center (referred to simply as "The Hughes").

About the Wellness Center. It is a two-story monster of a fitness area, with an indoor track, multiple areas with hi-tech workout equipment, indoor basketball and volleyball courts, a rock wall, and a room dedicated to dodgeball. Plus, it had multiple rooms dedicated to things like ballroom dancing lessons, board games, Wii tournaments, the Culinary Corner...the place is huge. Every night, like tonight, there's a thing that goes on there called Nightlife, in which there are things like movie showings (next week's is Up, the week after that is Terminator), the aforementioned Wii tournament, and just general funness.

The entry is free, but requires a scanning of your U-Card to make sure that you're actually a member of UND. After calling her to figure out where she was, I found her by the punching bags. After a bit of encouragement from me, she proceeded to show up the other guys hitting them (she knows martial arts!!). And then I went to the second floor to play dodgeball. I didn't do too badly, I was the last one of my team standing, but my forte is dodging and not throwing, which eventually led to my demise. I got congratulated by one of the team members for being the last one standing. After that, I found one of the computers and went online quickly to find an answer to a question I had regarding the game I was playing on my DS ("Do you get Battle Points for getting 7 consecutive wins in the Wi-Fi Battle Tower?"), where Jane quickly found me, holding a bag of her own trail mix. Apparently, the Culinary Corner's schtick this week was making your own trail mix. Since said room was five feet away, I did. Peanut M&Ms, peanuts, pretzels, and raisins. There was no way in hell I was putting almonds in.

Afterwards, while we were chilling in the nearby lounge (where the computers were) with our trail mix, three girls asked us to play this game called "catchphrase" with them, since they needed more people with teams. Here's how it goes: the little thing you have has a word on it. You try to describe that word and get your team to figure out what said word is without actually using it. Once they do, you pass it to the person next to you, who is on the other team. Meanwhile, a timer is going; once it goes off, the opponent team of whoever's holding the thing gets a point. We really weren't keeping score though, and by the end, we had decided to forgo the timer, too, since we were having too much fun guessing and describing the words. I have to say that it was one of the few times I've ever enjoyed playing games with other people, even people that I don't know to begin with.

Since it was about ten or so, Jane and I decided to walk back. Along the way, Jane was going into detail on all of the martial arts techniques she knows, which was pretty cool. She can so kick my ass in five seconds.

And then we got back and went to sleep. All in all, it was a very hectic and eventful day.

Here's another video. It's "Airmain ga taosenai", simply translated as "Airman will not die" (though that can't be a literal translation since "die" would be "shinimasu", with the simple-negative being "shinanai", IIRC). It's a song about how this one guy can't beat this really hard boss in Megaman 2. Also, it's in Japanese. With English subtitles.



...anyone who has played video games knows what it's like to feel that hopeless against an insanely hard boss. (YES, I'M LOOKING AT YOU, YUNALESCA IN FINAL FANTASY X!!!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Silver's on TV!: Band Camp, Final Day

Well, I found out via my roommate, Jane, who has moved in, that I was actually on TV last night. Remember my brief mention of a cameraman last post? You can see me at 00:47, I'm all the way to the right, close by, in the blue shirt. You can see my red folder on the stand, behind the music.

I know all of the people interviewed; Peter, who hails from North Carolina, was one of the people I ate lunch with today, for instance.

Onto today, which has been a bit more interesting than yesterday. We now have the entire show on the field. Granted, it's only 28 pages (my show last year was around 60), but we stay in one formation during the second song because the dance team and/or colorguard are featured. Apparently, this is the first time the band has been able to get the entire show on the field, marching and playing, in band camp in recent years. Why is it that bands start improving when I join them...?

At lunch, one of my marching band friends, a clarinet player I'll call "Gun Chick" (because she has lots of weapons at home, guns included, and likes to talk about them with other band members, who also have guns), told me that the Wilkerson Dining Hall was and has been open. This was news to me, and caused a lot of mental face-palming, because I've been paying around $6 for lunch every day (Memorial Union's dining hall is not open yet); I have the Unlimited Meal Plan, which means that at the three dining halls on campus (all with different food; Squires has an on-demand grill, for instance), I can eat for free, as often as I want. I found this ask while talking about how crowded it was going to be lunch.

A little explaining about that last sentence. Y'see, now it's Welcome Weekend, where the majority of people move in. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of people are here, especially parents. This causes a lot of problems: for one, said parents are completely inexperienced; why, when I was walking to the band room today so I could get a ride to the field, some moron in a Jeep ended up turning onto a one-way street despite the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS "DO NOT ENTER" SIGNS. For two, there's simply not enough room for the all of the cars; this has resulted in cars being parked all up and down the sides of University Avenue, the main road of the campus. For three, it dramatically increases the population of the previously-half-empty campus, which results in places like the Marketplace (where there are restaurants) being extremely crowded. Wilkerson wasn't crowded, because it's so goddamn huge (the second floor is dedicated entirely to seating).

Lunch was awesome: I had a hamburger, some beef ravioli, two bowls of clam chowder (my favorite soup), and a salad that filled up the entire plate. I basically ate as much as the three other people sitting at the table combined. Of course, this meant that I was full come dinner break two hours later (we got to get out early because we put the whole show on the field).

After dinner break (in which I went back to the dorm and hooked up the consoles to the TV that Jane brought; I can play games from my bed!!!), we had to go to the Chester Fritz Auditorium for rehearsal for the Welcome Weekend performance tomorrow. This Chester Fritz guy must've done something really good, because the library on campus is also named after him.

A word about the auditorium itself. The damn thing is HUGE. It has three floors of seating and its own orchestra pit. If I recall correctly, Artemus Ham Hall at UNLV only had two tiers of seating, and I know that it didn't have an orchestra pit. According to Gun Chick, it can seat a large number of people that I can't remember because I suck at remembering numbers. Seriously, the place is freaking HUGE.

The rehearsal's content was pretty boring - we play at the beginning and the end: Fight song twice, followed by The Pretender, followed by Gimme Some Loving, which has visuals following the drums, including one a bit similar to the one for "Boom Boom" back in Vegas (Mom knows what I'm talking about), except that we're playing while we're doing this.

The rehearsal itself wasn't too bad. While we were behind the curtains, waiting for our cue while some important chick talked up front, some funny things were happening.

Important Chick: (about Freshman in the audience) "...you're probably nervous, and that's normal--"
Trumpet Player in the band: (whispering) "Yeah, that's what she said."

Cue gigglesnorts. When the techno music came on for the video that I guess they play every year, people, especially the trumpets, started dancing to it in a completely hilarious fashion.

After we played, we got to sit in the green room for twenty minutes or so. The cool thing about Chester Fritz: all that important stuff, like the green room and stuff, is underground, underneath the auditorium itself. So, instead of having to go outside and walk a while to get to the green room like at UNLV (where I've played at for the past four years for the concert band festival), we just got to go down some stairs and walk for a little bit. Their green room was the nicest green room I've ever been in; it even had air conditioning! We basically just chilled; since I had my purse with me, I took out my Nintendo DS and started playing Poke'mon Platinum (Ninetails is Lv.30 at the moment). There are speakers in the green room where you can hear what's going on on stage. I guess one of the acts, the fire-dancing, is the same every year, since once the music came on, one of the band members started dancing to it, twirling imaginary flaming batons. It was a riot!

After that, I came back to the dorm to find Jane gone, but she left me a note saying that she left to explore and that she'll be eating dinner with her dad and her uncle. No biggie. And now I'm typing this, after ordering a pair of Arisato-esque (it's "esque" because they're not the actual model his headphones were based off of; importing them is upwards of $120) headphones (my old ones are starting to fall apart) on Amazon.com and finding the video of the news about us online and subsequently freaking out.

And I'll leave you with another video, one that Mom HASN'T seen.



...of course, one of the Dan Greens is LittleKuriboh's parody of Dan Green from Yu-gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. And the GaoGaiGar references? He voices the main guy in the English dub.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Less Eventful: Band Camp Day 3

Today, I averted falling off of the bed by climbing down the back, the same way I climb up. Yay.

We started out with marching again, but it was overcast and a bit chilly outside. Luckily, this meant that I didn't have to put on sunblock since I was wearing a jacket. We finished all of the drill for the first song and ran through it several times.

After lunch, we had sectionals. And then a guy from the local news station came with a camera to record us practicing. And then we played our music outside, which sucked because it was sunny at this point and I had to put on sunblock.

And then there was a dinner break. Aaaand then we marched outside in the rain for half an hour running through the first song over and over again.

And that's the gist of today. Not very exciting whatsoever.

Here's another video: The Miku Hatsune Vegetable Dance. Both amusing and creepy at the same time. This song is also sitting on my iPod. It's frequently listened to.



...hey, since when were bananas and lemons veggies?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rather Eventful: Band Camp Day 2

I started out today by falling off of my bunk bed. The top one.

Ok, maybe that was more dramatic than what actually happened. My alarm rang, and in my haste to get it to STFU, I rolled over, dangled my legs off of the bed, and slid off. Unfortunately, said bed was farther from the floor than I remembered. Luckily, since I was still tired, my body was rather limp and the worst I got from it was a thought process that went "WTF I don't remember being this high I hope I didn't wake anyone up OMG STFU alarm!"

Breakfast was a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats with the soymilk in the public fridge (thanks, mom! :]); once Jane comes, we'll have an actual fridge in the room and I'll be able to eat at the comp.

It had rained that early morning, since everything was wet outside when I was walking to the music center. I found out when I got there that instead of a marching rehearsal as originally scheduled, we were going to be in sectionals because the field was soaked. I was tired as hell because of the day before, and I was happy to see that I wasn't the only one; I thought my exhaustion was due to the fact that I was a complete n00b. The sectional itself was rather laid-back like the rest of the band camp, and we went over the show music (luckily, the hard parts) as well as the fight songs. After two hours, we regrouped in the band room and practiced as a huge, loud, collectively awesome whole.

After the lunch break, we had a three-hour-or-so rehearsal on the field, this time doing drill after reviewing the fundamentals. Drill is basically the formations that you, the audience, see on the field. Here's how it works: everyone receives a tiny, easy-to-lose slip of paper. Said paper has things like which formation (called "sets") it is, how many counts (beats) it takes to get to said formation, and where you are relative to the yard lines (like X-coordinates) and the sideline or hashes (like Y-coordinates), both of which are measured in 8-to-5 steps (8 steps for every five yards, the standard marching step. There are also step sizes such as 6-to-5 and the totally sucky 16-to-5), though it's not likely that you'll be taking the standard step size going from formation to formation.

Here's an example: Set #2, or the second formation of this song. It exists on count 8, which means that it took 8 counts to get from the first set (whose count number is 0, meaning that you start the show in that formation) to this one, which means that it takes 8 steps to get to said set. My specific spot is "2.5 stps inside Left 45 yd ln" on the left-to-right (or X-coordinate) basis. "Inside" means that, if you were looking at the field from the home sidelines, I am to the right of the 45 yard line on the left side of the field. In this case, I'm two-and-a-half standard steps to the right of the left side 45 yardline. On an up-to-down basis, I'm "14.75 stps outside Home hash". This means that I'm 14.75 steps in front of the home hash, which is the hash marking closest to the home side of the field. It's best to think of the football field as a huge grid, with the respective instructions as X and Y coordinates on that grid. At least, that's how I think about it.

Now, these coordinates are to give you a general idea of where your spot is in the formation. When we learn a set, we are put specifically in our specific spots as dictated by the sheet (by the directors and section leaders, who have drill charts, large pages displaying the formations and where everyone is as opposed to lines of text like us normal people); however, when you're marching from one set to another, it is virtually impossible to perfectly recreate where you were, thus, you must "dress" (or adjust yourself to be in line with the other players) to the SET, not what your little scraps of paper say. When you see a formation on the field, it will never be the exact formation dictated by the computer program used to calculate the coordinates and put them on the sheets. EVER. Not even if you're watching the #1 drum corps (a marching band to the twentieth power; like an NFL team is to a college football team) in all of the WORLD.

I personally find drill far more interesting and satisfying than marching up and down the field in a block like in fundamentals. It also helps me memorize the music faster; the music also helps me remember my drill. So, I rather enjoyed the marching rehearsal today.

Said rehearsal was cut short by a nasty storm approaching. This college being one of the best for aviation (or so I've heard), we had people who knew the weather and how it worked (there is seriously a class here called "Aviation Meteorology"); for instance, they knew the name of the cloud type above us (a "shelf cloud"). It was pretty cool being with other people who were as excited about the weather as I was. What was scary was what I saw when I was on my way to my ride's car - the clouds were rotating! However, I was informed that the specific way of rotating was not characteristic of a tornado. On a complete tangent, did you know that the digital tornado sirens here in Grand Forks were put in place by UND students in June? They were put to use (and they worked) a week after they were put into place, when four funnel clouds were spotted - according to a professor I talked to during my orientation, the sirens were going off for at least a few hours.

I had a two-hour dinner break, but couldn't eat any actual dinner since the place I go to for food had already closed. It started pouring outside, but I had to get back to the music center. So I walked. It had to have been the fastest I've walked in a while because I got there in ten minutes as opposed to fifteen. I was totally soaked, and while my hair was wet because I took a shower prior to leaving, it was even more soaked when I got to the band room. My pleather jacket was thankfully waterproof, but my long pants were not. Luckily, my iPod, my phone, my wallet and my DS were entirely unharmed.

While I had brought my clarinet "just in case", the rest of the band day was dedicated to uniform fitting and checking out; while this was going on, Get Smart was playing on a big-ass projector in the recital hall - seniors had to get their stuff done first, so everyone watched. From what I saw of it before I was called to the band room to try on stuff, it was pretty funny, in part because the comedy didn't consist of toilet humor or sex jokes (which of course fly right over my head). Plus, MASI OKA.

Getting my uniform was a pain in the ass. It's no secret to Mom or anyone else who knows me that I'm short. This presented a problem.

Here's the basic anatomy of a band uniform, which holds true regardless of school or state: the main body of the uniform consists of the bib pants, of which you only see the legs. The pant legs can't be too long or else you'll be tripping over them as you march on the field with BLACK (emphasis on BLACK) marching shoes (which have blunted heels to make marching easier). Over the pants goes the jacket, which may or may not vary between bands (for instance, my high school's band jacket looked suspiciously similar to that of the Blue Devils drum corps, which also looked similar to a band in California that I saw at Bands of America last year). Then you have your hat, which, from what I've seen, consists of either the old school, box-ish style or a cowboy-esque hat, and might or might not have a plume.

My problem was that, because I'm so short, the smallest size of the pants was far too big for me in all areas, even with the straps pulled all the way up. This is a pain in the ass when you can't get a smaller size and there's no way to adjust it without making some "modifications", such as cutting the threads of the doubled-up part of the strap to make it longer and hemming the bottoms with an iron. Because of said modifications, I decided to outright buy the pants (for $35, but I don't need to pay now) instead of simply checking them out; also, this would make it much easier for me in the later years.

My initial jacket was too small: the sleeves ended at my lower wrists, which is a no-no, and the jacket seemed to end a little too high up. My third jacket ended up fitting me. What's strange about the jackets here is that instead of opening up from the back like my ones at my high school, they open from the front but are covered by a decorative thingy that's buttoned on both sides, concealing the zipper.

Here, ANY entirely black shoes work, so I got to save myself money because I had brought my marching shoes from high school.

The hat was a less boxy box-esque hat, sans plume, thankfully, since the plumes for these types of hats stick straight up and look really stupid. A friendly senpai (upperclassmen) I know said that they looked like tampons. I thought they just looked plain stupid back when I had to wear them four years ago in my freshman year of high school.

After that ordeal was over, I asked one of the seniors to give me a ride back, since it was dark. One of the section leaders was there, too, and they picked up another colleague of theirs. The person giving me a ride asked if I wanted to go with them to the local Cold Stone to get some ice cream.

Ok, I totally caved. I was hungry, craving sweets, and they were my senpai that I had already played and marched beside and talked to before in camp. So why not? The Cold Stone was near the SuperTarget Mom and I went shopping at a few days before. I got a very large "Chocolate Chocolate Mint Mint" (mint ice cream with a chocolate brownie and chocolate chips on top) ice cream in a waffle bowl; I later learned that the waffle bowl was free because today was Waffle Wednesday. I payed for it myself, of course. As of typing this, despite being lactose intolerant (hence the soymilk), I have had no problems whatsoever. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing...

More people from band started showing up, including an assistant director that I knew closely already, because she was the one answering my n00bish questions over the summer about band camp. The high-woodwind (flutes and clarinets) section leader showed up and a bunch of other senpai showed up, too, including one of the drum majors! We all sat in the tables outside of the Cold Stone, eating our ice cream and laughing like crazy at the hilarious anecdotes and verbal zingers that they kept throwing at each other. That's how I learned about the tornado sirens. Also, apparently the sirens over at the airport, which is apparently where I get the data for the radar that I pore over every five minutes, are broken, and the air traffic controllers found out the hard way, though no damage was done. The senior that drove me there joked about heading to the Target to get some toilet paper after the assistant director mentioned that the process of buying her house was finally complete on her end; the discussion then turned into one about the best ways to prank people's houses (throwing marbles into someone's back yard, which would then fly as lethal projectiles when said yard was being mowed, for instance). It was pretty cool being "one of the guys" for a little while, and I got to eat yummy ice cream to boot!

Oh, and apparently everyone gets smashed at the bowling party on the third day of band camp; I noted to myself that I wasn't going to attend - c'mon, drunk people and bowling balls? Not the best combo.

After about an hour or so, I got dropped off back at my dorm, and now I'm typing this. So basically, my day in a nutshell. A lot happened, and I enjoyed today a lot more than I did yesterday.

Mom just had to inform me while I was typing this that my usage of "colloquial" in my last post was wrong. Crap, foiled again!

She also sent me this great image. Metallica + Lolcats = Epic win.

And, like yesterday, I'll send you off with a video. This one involves the epic power of Dan Green's voice (which was parodied awesomely in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series by LittleKuriboh, a British guy).



Remember, kids, Dan Green's voice is so epic that it can turn a Magic or Trap card into a Monster card!

EDIT: Okay, so I just found out that I DIDN'T bring my marching band shoes. So I'll probably have to buy them. FUUUUUU--*shot*

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Moving in, and Band Camp Day 1

Today was the day I had to move into my dorm. After some problems involving nonexistent paperwork, I finally got my keys and Mom and I got my stuff in my oddly spacious dorm room. The set-up took at least an hour or so, but the results were impressive.

After that, I had to go get my allergy shots, a process that wasn't as time-consuming as I had feared. And then we got my food on the go so that I wouldn't be late for band camp.

Ahhh, band camp. Well, first off, the atmosphere is far more laid-back than band in high school, easily. Marching fundamentals were taught in sectionals (as opposed to one big group the entire time), on a field with actual GRASS and markings on said grass (instead of being on a field with dead grass and markings that disappeared after a few hours), with nice weather and wind (instead of 100+ degree heat and wind that feels like a blowdryer). Everything is far more colloquial (a train passed by in the middle of rehearsal, and everyone, including the teachers, stopped everything and kept motioning for the conductor to honk his horn. He didn't). Some aspects of the marching fundamentals totally tripped me up, though, because they're different than the things that have been drilled into my head for four years. The "to the rear" command, for instance, takes only two counts in Vegas (a step forward with the right foot and using the left heel to pivot 180 degrees), but takes four counts here, with footwork that I haven't even seen before (step forward with right foot, put weight on left foot, move the right foot 90 degrees, turn 180). The attention posture without instruments has the hands in a position that I know as "horns up, without instruments" as opposed to being at the sides. The timing for going from a forward march to a back march and vice-versa is entirely different. "Horns Up" occurs two counts after the command is stated, not one. Verbals are only used when going to attention, not for anything else (and for the record, it's "Pride" as opposed to "Fight"). The terminology is also a little different - the four count "drags" that we used two years ago in my junior year return here as "turns", for instance. The putting down of habits that I've been using for four years was very difficult, because it was all muscle memory that my body remembered even several months without marching a single step.

I also found out the hard way that the clarinet I rented from the school was broken. Specifically, the mouthpiece had no cork - on a clarinet, which is a multipart woodwind instrument that has to be put together prior to playing, the individual parts have cork on their ends so that the pieces stay together (and the ends they fit into are built to support this). No cork, and the part can't and won't attach and stay attached. When I got my instrument out to put it together, I put the mouthpiece on and wondered why there was no resistance. And then I took a realllly close look at the damn thing and noticed that there wasn't a single scrap of cork on it. So I basically marched with my instrument without a mouthpiece and basically "air clarinetted" my way up and down the field. I also found out, just now, actually, that despite my efforts to NOT get sunburned, my shoulders inside my shirt got burned anyway. And I was wondering why my shirt seemed to be irritating me so much for the past few hours.

Despite this, and how exhausted I am, the marching portion of band camp was a damn cakewalk in comparison to what I'm used to.

Before coming back to the dorm during my dinner break, I went back to the band room to get another clarinet. And then I found out in the car that said clarinet lacked a ligiture (metal portion of the mouthpiece that holds the sound-producing reed in place), despite the fact that, like the clarinet before that, the person handing me the instrument opened it prior to giving it to me and checked it! After taking a shower at the dorm and eating at the local burrito place, I had to go to the music portion of the day. I got there early, so I went and got the clarinet I previously had with a new mouthpiece.

Onto the music itself. While the show music was much easier than what I'm used to (basically consisting of three short modern songs with lengths of a half-sheet each; a far cry from last year's, which was a medley of classical Russian music that spanned at least a good two pages for the entire show; for the record, said modern music includes The Pretender. Yes, the song by the Foo Fighters), and while the pep band music was the standard fare that I'd learn over time (including some arrangements of songs that were literally exactly the same as the ones I played for Pep Band in Vegas), the many fight songs are evil. I had problems with my school's fight song in my freshman year of high school. I have a feeling that, despite my experience, I'm going to have the same problems with them - they're fast as hell, with strings of notes and rhythms that I find hard to learn period, let alone play with a fast tempo.

The rehearsal also had a surprise placement test for certain sections, clarinets included, for the parts. I had to play a 2-octave B-flat scale (pffft, please), was informed that my 2 1/2-sized reed wasn't good enough for the sheer volume my sound had (as if I didn't know that already - the rest of my reeds are 3s!), and then I had to sight read. What surprised me was how laid-back the entire thing was in general - it simply started with me walking in, and then the two section leaders asked me where I came from, which changed into a very brief discussion about the weather (a topic that always comes up whenever I tell people I'm from Vegas. No exceptions). For the record, I got first clarinet part (the hardest part; it has higher notes and tends to possess the melody of the piece), though some of my pieces are second clarinet parts, but I think that might because of the shortage of first clarinet part copies for certain songs. Not that I mind, second clarinet is fun, too. It's third that I can't stand - so utterly easy and boring, playing things in the background that hardly harmonizes with the other clarinet parts. Pretty much no pep band tunes have third parts, though - that's reserved for concert band pieces.

After the end of the rehearsal, there was a required mixer. Mehhhhh. Here's the thing: when you're a chick who plays video games, especially if your favorite series is the extremely obscure Shin Megami Tensei series, people give you weird looks like you're some kind of freak. Video games are my favorite hobby, the main thing I like to talk about. So I have a hard time socializing, even with people in band. Especially since it seems that far fewer people in this band are gamers than in the band at my high school.

Today was also the last day I'd really see Mom face-to-face. While she doesn't fly out till Thursday, band will be taking up my days for the rest of the week, drastically reducing any free time I could possibly have with her. Yes, I have a lunch break that's an hour and a half, but would Mom be hungry? Or even available? Highly unlikely. And it's not like she can drop whatever she's doing to pick me up from the rather distant marching field, like I'm some sort of kindergardener. I was getting choked up on my way to the music rehearsal, because it was the last time I'd probably see her in person for four months. We still have Skype and IRC, though, but the sheer amount of stuff I'll be doing and the time difference will make it a pain in the ass.

Well, it's almost midnight as I type this, and I've been extremely tired for at least the past four hours or so. I'll leave you with this: Children's card games on motorbikes. It's just as stupid as it sounds.


Also, Ninetails is around Lv.20 right now.

More preparations

Well, the events of yesterday consisted pretty much of busywork - basically, shopping for stuff we couldn't find at Target the day before or things we forgot to get. After waking up on our own and procrastinating a great deal, we finally left our hotel room to take care of some on-campus things, such as delivering my serum to the medical center where I get my shots and giving the pharmacy my prescriptions.

That didn't take very long, and afterwards, we headed to the local thrift store to get some clothes. Thrift stores I love for clothes shopping, because for some reason, I always find things I want there. Unfortunately, they weren't selling winter clothing yet, which was the main reason we went there in the first place. On the other hand, we got a bunch of sweatshirts, sweaters, and a kick-ass jacket. After about ten or fifteen minutes, we left with two bags or so of awesome clothing.

After that, we headed to the local Wal-Mart. One of the first things Mom and I noted mentally about the place was that, unlike Las Vegas, the parking lot had actual trees in it instead of saplings. The store itself was pretty familiar despite being in a new location, which was a bit comforting for me because everywhere we had gone to so far didn't seem at all similar to their counterparts in Vegas (we never went to Target in Vegas...). The major difference was that the Wal-Mart here in Grand Forks had an entire section dedicated solely to UND merchandise - clothing and the like. Maybe it's because this is probably the only Wal-Mart here, but in Las Vegas, no Wal-Marts have entire sections dedicated to UNLV merchandise.

When Mom picked up her protein bars here, they were actually cheaper than at the Wal-Marts in Las Vegas. Since the gas here was also cheaper than in Vegas (by about 20 cents to boot), I wondered aloud whether Las Vegas had some sort of conspiracy going to overcharge for everything because it's in LAS VEGAS.

After getting a booster pack, we went on a little mini-odyssey to find new pages for my card album (the night before, I found that my Glaceon ensured that I wouldn't have enough spaces left in my Water/Blue section for all of my cards, and I had no extra pages). After not finding them, the guy helping us out told us about a hobby store near the Colombia Mall, which was thankfully close by. The locally-owned place was plastered from ceiling to floor in all kinds of stuff - there were collector's edition Brett Favre figures (in his Packers gear), hundreds of booster packs for baseball cards, and, FINALLY, the pages I needed for my album, being sold at 5 for a dollar (that can hold 90 cards). We picked up 15, paid, and left for our pharmacy, which now had my prescriptions ready for pickup. After that, we headed back to the hotel room where I opened my booster pack (of the Legends Awakened series; I like to pick up the older series first before they're phased out). A nifty mention was this kickass holographic Jirachi with an awesome instant-kill move (important in a game where you have to KO 6 of your opponent's Poke'mon to win) and a move that allows me to search my deck for any one card. To make it even more awesome, instead of having a x2 weakness like the majority of Legendary Poke'mon that I have, it has a +20 weakness instead!

A while later, Mom and I left our room again to eat dinner at the local Applebee's. In between conversations between the two of us, she kept getting texts and replying to them; I responded to this by kicking the asses of the A.I. characters in Poke'mon on my Nintendo DS. The food made Mom ill, though it happened far too quickly to be food poisoning. I just overstuffed myself, but other than that had no problems. The overly chocolatey Dessert Shooter (the one with the Oreo in it) is still awesome, by the way.

After we came home again, packed my stuff for my move tomorrow, and did some general futzing around on the computer, Mom popped in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure on her comp; she had wanted me to see it for a while, but we never got a chance to watch it in Vegas with all of the insanity going on. It was funny, but I liked the Wayne's World movie, so of course I found it funny. I was also surprised by the fact that I just watched a movie in which Keanu Reeves can actually act.

And then we went to sleep. At midnight. When I had to get up at 6:30.

For the record, I finally got Takoyaki to Lv.50, so now I'm training Ninetails (named after the nine-tailed fox boss in the Japanese mythology-based Okami) the Ninetales.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Obama, urging patience, says Afghan war worth fighting"

He better think that it's worth fighting. But, since this is Obama, and he changes his views monthly, I bet he's going to flip the bird to all of the soldiers in Afganistan and pull out. Or something equally as stupid.

Which would really piss me off. My dad has been working in airborne reconnaissance for a few months in Afganistan, and to simply give up because our "Commander" in Chief is a wuss would a complete and utter insult.

This! Is! GRAND FOOOOOOOORKS!!!

I'm sure Mom has already filled you in on some of the details regarding the events of yesterday, but I'm going to bore you with more of the details anyway.

So the night before yesterday, I had already resolved to stay up all night instead of sleeping one measly hour and being a wreck, so I decided to play (and attempt to get to the end of) Persona 3 before we leave; when I started the game again three or four weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to beat it before I leave. I wanted to beat it that night, if not, keep playing until 2:00 and then start getting ready for our departure at 3:30.

Well, not only did I not beat the game, not only did I just get to the last month of the game (the last part of the game) instead of getting to the last day of that in-game month (when the final boss fight takes place), but I soon learned that we were supposed to leave at 3:00 instead of 3:30. So I had to take my shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, AND pack in an hour. I ended up not eating breakfast at all, and packing turned out to be less organized than it happened in my head. For one, we were in a hurry, which basically ensured that we weren't going to be as efficient or cooperative as we were supposed to. Two, I had a lot of stuff.

Ok, on the subject of my stuff. I needed to bring all my clothing. I wanted to bring all of my consoles, my games (all put into a DVD holder), and all wires and accessories associated with said consoles. I also wanted to bring my Poke'mon card album and all of my extras. Said album is a 4-inch binder with at least 1000 unique cards in it, and each stack of extras (grouped by color/type) holds around a few hundred per stack, the exception being the Metal/Dark stack that had only about 50 or so cards. I thought I wouldn't have any problems fitting everything, since we had four large containers and I was the queen of packing lots of shit in one place (my school backpack being a prime example of this).

Well, I did have problems, in part because I didn't know I had so much clothing and in part because I didn't take into account mom's pillow. This resulted in mom and I squabbling a lot, because we were trying to pack virtually everything I owned in the space of half an hour. In the end, I had to leave all of my extras behind, save for my Fire, Psychic, and Training extras, which I took with me, but succeeded in packing practically everything else, resulting in four really full suitcases. I also didn't take into account how heavy these suckers would be; as I'm typing this, my left bicep is crying in agony and my right one's a bit grumpy.

After we left 40 minutes late, we got to the airport, parked in Economy parking (after being confused and a little nervous, because the signs preceding the airport and leading to the different parking areas suck and make little to no sense), and rode the shuttle there, we had to check our stuff in. With how heavy the bag with my clothes in it was, we were kindly informed by the lady checking our stuff in that if we removed five pounds from it, she wouldn't have to charge us an extra $50 because of its weight. So we did.

While this was happening, an old man was also checking in at the register next to us; said registers shared entrances for luggage. Right before he put his luggage through, Mom picked up our second piece of luggage to put it on the scale and hit her knee on it. This resulted in Mom bringing out a very angry-sounding string of cuss words in German. Though they weren't necessarily directed at him, the look on his face was that of sheer terror (Mom is pretty big and burly, after all. Have you seen her broad shoulders?). Mom apologized, of course, but after we left to go to the second floor, I still found it both amusing and kinda wrong that she scared the guy like that. Plus, I hadn't heard her cuss in German in a while, and she used some words I had never heard before (I've heard the German versions of "shit" and "asshole", and can pronounce them to boot; for the record, I can call someone a "bastard" in Japanese).

Security was hectic because of all of our stuff, even with two of our four bags being checked as luggage. After going through the whole thing, which included having to take off my shoes, declare my fluid-based allergy serum (which has to be kept cold, hence why it came with us instead of being in luggage), take out my laptop and put it in a separate bin, empty my pockets (while I'm wearing cargo pants with four very full pockets), take off my D20 necklace, and put our carry-ons onto the conveyor belt (while I was fervently praying that my video game consoles wouldn't raise alarm), I was reminded of a PA message I heard in Ratchet and Clank 3: "Welcome to Zeldrin Starport. Due to increased security, thermonuclear warheads and nail-clippers will no longer be permitted as carry-on baggage."

The plane flight was pretty cool, though. Upon takeoff, we could literally see our house and my high school from the plane. Plus a rival high-school of ours. The flight was shorter than expected: 2 hours and 22 minutes as opposed to 3 hours. It still felt like forever, though. And WTF you charge for blankets?!

When we landed, it was raining. YAY! While Mom doesn't like rain, I do (why did I live in Las Vegas, again?). After going to hotel to find out that our room wasn't ready yet, we ate at the local McDonald's (sooo much nicer than the one we usually go to in Las Vegas). And then we drove around town. I pointed out many of the sights to Mom, since I was previously here in late June, and mentally noted to myself over and over again about how green everything is. While we do have trees in Vegas, all the green there is "fake" - it's light, almost fleeting, certainly not the lush, rich green of Grand Forks. While we were going down one of the main streets, we passed a baseball field that had actual GRASS on it.

After getting to our hotel room (and finding that my extras, which were tightly wrapped in thick rubber bands, had gotten everywhere in the pocket I stored them in) and getting a call from my roommate, we finally got to meet face-to-face. While talking for a while in the parking lot, I noticed that we were wearing the same kinds of clothing: tighter, girlish T-shirts with cargo pants (in my case, cargo shorts). We even talk the same way. Jane (as my mom calls her) and her dad were even nice enough to show us to the local Target and help out with our shopping. And after that, they were so nice that they let us eat with them and their relatives at the local (and awesome) Chinese buffet/Mongolian BBQ. We got along well with them, and I felt honored that, as someone who she had never met before, I got to eat with her and her family.

At the Target, I also got a booster pack (the Platinum: Rising Rivals series, they actually didn't have anything older than that) among my dorm items, which I promptly opened after getting back from the hotel room. I got an Elite Four's Flareon and a Glaceon that I really wanna put in my deck. And then I promptly collapsed in the bed after organizing the album, because I didn't have any sleep for at least 24 hours before.

Yeah, I think I bored you long enough.

Live, from Grand Forks, North Dakota...

...it's Silver's Screw the Rules, I Have Blog! Brought to you by Real Life: Because virtual life just isn't satisfying enough!

Well, this is Silver's first blog post, not including the ones on my now-defunct old blog. If you're reading this, it's probably because you're a blogger friend of my mom's, a relative of mine (such as a sister or mother), or someone who Googled "Grand Forks North Dakota" and stumbled across this (yeah, right, I don't have nearly enough hits for it). Since the first two are the likeliest reasons why you're bothering to read this instead of doing something productive, I'm going to forgo the introduction in which I tell you that I'm crazy and genre-savvy (you become this if you surf TVTropes long enough), love video games, and want to get a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Science at the University of North Dakota.

Since few of you aforementioned people are video game-savvy, I'll mention the two games I'll be referencing soon: Persona 3 and Poke'mon Pearl. Persona 3 is a Japanese Role-Playing Game (RPGs are games that are generally heavy on story and are very long) that takes place in modern-day Japan, is very, very long (around 120 hours from start to finish), has fast-paced turn-based battles, and thinks that it's an anime. It's also part of the Shin Megami Tensei series of JRPGs; all you really need to know about the series, aside from the fact that it's awesome, is that it likes to make God evil.

Poke'mon Pearl is the fourth-generation (read: 4th series) iteration of the Poke'mon games, which are also JRPGs with a turn-based battle system. Poke'mon as a whole started out as a video game series with Poke'mon Red and Blue before it branched out into other things like the (now sucky) anime, spinoff games, toys, and the card game series that I love so much alongside the "main" series developed by Game Freak (if a Poke'mon game isn't developed by these guys, it's not a "main" game), of which Pearl is part of. At the moment, I've been EV-training an Octillery named "Takoyaki" (translates to "fried octopus" in Japanese). EV-training stands for "Effort Value training"; it basically involves killing specific Poke'mon over and over again so that a specific stat(s) gains more points upon leveling up. I'm EV-training Takoyaki in the Special Attack stat, so it could do things like barbecuing people a lot more effectively.

The title of my blog is a reference to Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, in which one of the main characters, a rich teen who cheats at the card game of the series, says "Screw the rules, I have money!" It's one of the most famous catchphrases of the entire series.

Since I literally just made this blog and I'm short on time at the moment (more on that later), the sidebar looks distinctly void of content and/or generic and the template is one that twenty bazillion other people on this site have. Probably tonight after dinner and after I post my two new blog posts, I'll make the images and start on the coding for the blog layout (which probably has div classes and such that I don't know how to work yet) so it isn't nearly as generic or boring.